It was fate that I found this book while roaming around Barnes and Nobles Saturday evening. I went into a random aisle and saw about 50 copies of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe on the floor. I picked it up and read that it covered one of the historical topics nearest to my heart: the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Excitement ensued! I did a decent amount of research work on the topic while I was graduate school, and it also being a New York Times Bestseller, I knew I had to read it.
The book takes place in Massachusetts in 1991, while Harvard Ph.D candidate Connie Goodwin is working on her dissertation research in colonial studies. Her mother asks her to take care of her grandmother’s dilapidated house in Marblehead, as it needs to be sold as soon as possible. What Connie finds there sparks a mystery, and the search for a pre-colonial spellbook unfolds. The story mostly takes place in 1991 but there are interludes throughout the book that bring you back to the time of the with trials. Here you find out more information that helps bring understanding to not only Connie’s quest but about the panic and hysteria of 1692.
I LOVED this book. I cannot stress this enough. I was hooked from page one and could not put it down. The suspense, the mystery and the historical accuracy all was amazing. Interestingly enough, Katherine Howe herself is related to two women accused during the trials, one who survived, and one who unfortunately was hanged. I was bummed to find out it’s the only book she has written.Put it on your list!